ATLANTA — Gary Stoffer knew Hedstrom Corp. had a winner, when the firm's own production workers waxed enthusiastic about the new shipping containers.
Hedstrom started commercial sales of the Max Cube at Plastics Show Atlanta. The company is pitching the container as an alternative to shipping parts in gaylord boxes on pallets.
Tough polypropylene fabric is stretched over a steel-tube frame. The container is 71/2 feet high — just the right size to clear the top of a truck trailer. Max Cube goes from the assembly line directly to a warehouse or truck. They are stackable, and collapse down between uses.
It was a hit at Hedstrom's plant in Bedford, Pa. Workers liked being able to buckle up the front opening as the container is filled with rotational molded and blow molded parts for playground equipment.
``We built about 100 of them, and every time I walked out in the plant, they said, `When are we gonna get more?' I knew we had a hit,'' said Stoffer.
Management liked the cost savings in Bedford.
``We reduced our freight costs by a half a million dollars,'' Stoffer said. ``We've cut our material handling in half.''
Hedstrom makes the tubular steel frame in Bedford. Two Hedstrom factories in Georgia, at Alma and Hazlehurst, sew the fabric.
The company is selling the Max Cube for about $300.